How to Become a Critical Care Nurse

14 05 2012

Critical care nurses are registered nurses who work to provide optimal care for patients who are critically ill, and make use of their specialized skills and knowledge to do so. Let’s take a deeper look at the critical care nursing profession, including the educational requirements, job roles, and practice settings for critical care nurses in the healthcare industry.

Where do critical care nurses work?

Critical care nurses work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities such as nursing homes, outpatient surgery centers, flight units, etc.They can also pursue employment in:

·         Hospital emergency units

·         Intensive care units

·         Trauma units

·         Oncology or cardiac care units

·         Pediatric ICUs

·         Neonatal ICUs

·         Progressive care units

·         Post-operative care units

·         High dependency units

What do critical care nurses do?

The most important function of a critical care nurse is to be the patient’s advocate. Every decision the critical care nurse makes must keep the best interests of the patients and their families at heart. Critical care nurses assess complex cases and are responsible for patients’ medication and treatment. They fulfill a variety of roles, such as nurse educators, nurse practitioners, nurse researchers, nurse managers, and clinical nurse specialists as well as bedside nurses.

What are the educational requirements to become a critical care nurse?

In order to become a critical care nurse, the student must be a registered nurse, and have completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program in nursing from an accredited university. The student should then enroll in a master’s degree program, in order to develop the necessary specialized skills required for this position. These degrees can now be pursued online through accredited colleges, so you have the option of pursuing higher education without giving up your current work or family responsibilities.

If you’re wondering which college can offer you an online degree, you might want to consider Stevens-Henager College. Stevens-Henager is an example of an accredited college that offers both online and on-campus degree programs in healthcare (plus degrees in other fields such as business, information technology, and graphic arts). The college’s Master’s of Science in Nursing Administration prepares you for a variety of jobs in the nursing profession, such as medical and health services managers, advanced nurse specialists, critical care nurses, etc. Stevens-Henager College accreditation is through the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

What are the job prospects and salaries of critical care nurses?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession is supposed to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, with registered nurses constituting the largest healthcare occupation. Pay Scale states that registered nurses can earn salaries anywhere between $68,227 to $98,762, depending on years of experience, educational level, and position within a healthcare setting.

Critical care nurses keep pace with technological advances and upcoming trends in the nursing profession, and work tirelessly to provide quality care for critically ill patients, keeping their best interests at heart.





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